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The Best Food Truck Cities

The Best Food Truck Cities

By Sarah Bruning, CNTraveler.com

Paris recently jumped on the food truck game, but other cities have been churning out craveworthy mobile munchies for years. We’re saluting the crème de le crème worldwide.

LOS ANGELES
The City of Angels boasts more than 250 roving restaurants (not counting carts), according to data from food-truck blog Roaming Hunger. Korean-American chef Roy Choi kicked off the craze in 2008, when he took his signature Asian-fusion tacos to the streets with the Kogi. Since then, he’s been joined by renowned toques and neophytes hawking everything from buttermilk fried chicken (Ludo Lefebvre’s Ludotruck) to Spanish staples (Barcelona On the Go) and made-to-order Neapolitan pizza ( The Urban Oven).

Photo: LUCY NICHOLSON/REUTERS/CORBIS

AUSTIN
There’s a strong south-of-the-border bent to this town’s brigade, with Chi’lantro, Torchy’s (pictured) and Veracruz All Natural, among others, churning out superlative tacos at all hours of the day and night. Still, BBQ has its place with the ever-popular Micklethwait Craft Meats, and a cavalry of sweet slingers includes Little Lucy’s Mini Donuts and Gourdough’s wacky donuts. It’s also hard to beat James Beard Award-winner Paul Qui’s East Side King for a gourmet lunchtime bargain.

NEW YORK CITY
While the Big Apple may not reach L.A. or Austin’s number, it certainly contends with the number and scope of its food trucks—many of which have gone on to spawn permanent eateries. Craving vegan plum pancakes? Hit up The Cinnamon Snail. How about crispy Taiwanese pork chops? Bian Dang’s got you covered. Dessert time? Coolhaus, Van Leeuwen and Treats Truck all to the rescue. The city was also the first to salute its roving restaurants with the annual Vendy Awards (pictured), which celebrates its tenth year this fall.

Photo: ROB KIM / STRINGER / GETTY

See Also: America’s Best Sandwiches 

CHICAGO
Strict ordinances kept food trucks off Chi-town’s streets until July 2012; since then, it’s been full speed ahead. You might scratch your head the first time you get your order taken by the guy wearing a wrestling mask at Tamale Spaceship, but you’ll be too busy breathing in the heady smell of roasted pork give it a second thought. More foreign flavors abound at Indian spot Curried and African-leaning favorite Haute Sausage, while familiar (and iconic) tastes hit the streets with Giordano’s Pizza (pictured).

Photo: FELIX CHOO / ALAMY

BERLIN
It’s quality and creativity, not quantity, that put the German capital on this list. Mr. Whippy (pictured) may have a silly name, but the creamy fro-yo and inventive toppings (rum-laced white currant sauce) make it seriously addictive. Equally craveworthy are Die Dollen Knollen-Puffermanufaktur’s enormous potato pancakes, which you can order crowned with cottage cheese or smoked fish, among other flourishes.

Photo: COURTESY MR. WHIPPY

PORTLAND
The entire Pacific Northwest has been experiencing a food renaissance over the past year, and that extends to the curbside vendors in this riverside city. Here, the globetrotting mix spans Canadian poutine (Potato Champion), Chinese dumplings (The Dump Truck) and Greek gyros (Ramy’s Lamb Shack). And while the entirety of the fleet may not ascribe to Portland’s eco-friendly mindset, Solar Waffle Works embodies the city’s sustainability efforts by cooking its namesake dish on sun power. (Handy maps detail the areas where trucks are frequently parked.)

Photo: ANTHONY PIDGEON

See Also: Mouth-Watering Milkshakes with Booze

BAY AREA
Whether they’re flying solo or banding together at a festival, the food trucks in San Francisco and Oakland draw droves of dedicated food lovers to their windows. Filipino fillings (crispy grilled chicken, sweet pork, adobo garlic rice) meet Mexican wrappings (corn and flour tortillas) in Señor Sisig, while The Chairman earns accolades for its Chinese steamed bun sandwiches.

Photo: MICHAEL HALBERSTADT / ALAMY

LONDON
With top-notch brick-and-mortar restaurants on every corner, the high caliber of food trucks in the Queen’s backyard shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Many of the most popular borrow from other cultures: Churros Bros gets chased around town for its tender-yet-crunchy batons—served with a steaming cup of Valor hot chocolate—while Bhangra Burger melds American and Indian staples into spicy patties washed down with creamy mango lassis.

Photo: M.SOBREIRA / ALAMY

VANCOUVER
Comfort food takes every form thanks to the food trucks in this Canadian metropolis, where you can belly up to the window at Old Country Pierogi, REEL Mac and Cheese, Soho Road Naan Kebab and more. If you happen to be there after June 22, consider hitting up the Food Cart Fest, a weekly shindig bringing together 20 mobile food vendors at the park site near Southeast False Creek.

Photo: JOHN MITCHELL / ALAMY

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